Issues to consider when developing mandatory reporting legislation and policy to improve discovery of child abuse

Davies, Emma, Mathews, Benjamin P., & Read, John (2014) Issues to consider when developing mandatory reporting legislation and policy to improve discovery of child abuse. Institute of Advanced Legal Studies Student Law Review, 2(1), pp. 9-28.

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Abstract

In the United Kingdom, recent investigations into child sexual abuse occurring within schools, the Catholic Church and the British Broadcasting Corporation, have intensified debate on ways to improve the discovery of child sexual abuse, and child maltreatment generally. One approach adopted in other jurisdictions to better identify cases of severe child maltreatment is the introduction of some form of legislative mandatory reporting to require designated persons to report known and suspected cases. The debate in England has raised the prospect of whether adopting a strategy of some kind of mandatory reporting law is advisable. The purpose of this article is to add to this debate by identifying fundamental principles, issues and complexities underpinning policy and even legislative developments in the interests of children and society. The article will first highlight the data on the hidden nature of child maltreatment and the background to the debate. Secondly, it will identify some significant gaps in knowledge that need to be filled. Thirdly, the article will summarise the barriers to reporting abuse and neglect. Fourthly, we will identify a range of options for, and clarify the dilemmas in developing, legislative mandatory reporting, addressing two key issues: who should be mandated to report, and what types of child maltreatment should they be required to report? Finally, we draw attention to some inherently different goals and competing interests, both between and within the various institutions involved in the safeguarding of children and the criminal prosecution of some offenders. Based on this analysis we offer some concluding observations that we hope contribute to informed and careful debate about mandatory reporting.

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ID Code: 82520
Item Type: Journal Article
Refereed: Yes
Keywords: Child abuse and neglect, Mandatory reporting laws, United Kingdom, law, policy
DOI: 10.14296/islr.v2i1.2110
ISSN: 2053-7646
Subjects: Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Access to Justice (180102)
Australian and New Zealand Standard Research Classification > LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES (180000) > LAW (180100) > Family Law (180113)
Divisions: Current > QUT Faculties and Divisions > Faculty of Law
Current > Research Centres > Australian Centre for Health Law Research
Current > Schools > School of Law
Copyright Owner: Copyright 2014 The Author(s)
Copyright Statement: This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Unported License
Deposited On: 16 Mar 2015 22:23
Last Modified: 17 Mar 2015 21:12

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